Church hypocrisy, the extraordinary case of Billy Tipton, and when straights attack

5 years ago
June 6, 2003 | Susan Ryan-Vollmar shared her reactions to the Catholic Church’s attack on gay marriages (including her own) from the altar.

"I didn’t think I’d get worked up about it. When I read reports last week that the Catholic Church’s four bishops in Massachusetts were directing parish priests to issue a call to arms against same-sex marriage from the altar this past weekend, I wasn’t so much angry as flabbergasted. What were these bishops thinking? Who were they to give moral advice to families? The Church has yet to come to terms with its failure to protect children from pedophilic priests. Now it’s going to go after homosexuals — on whom it tried (and failed) to blame the clergy sex-abuse scandal?" Read Full Article

10 years ago
June 5, 1998 | The Straight Dope’s Cecil Adams fielded a question about Billy Tipton, a jazz musician who attracted posthumous attention when it was discovered that he was born a woman.

"There was a news story a few years back about a jazz musician who died and was found to be a woman after living her life as a man...No one I ask remembers this. Do you? --SMENGI, via AOL

"You think I could forget the story of Billy Tipton? Yes, she lived as a man from age 21 till the day she died at age 74. Yes, her three sons (all adopted) never suspected a thing. But that's not the bizarre part. She lived with five women in succession, all of them attractive, a couple of them knockouts. She had intercourse with at least two of them and, who knows, maybe all five. But of the three we know about in detail, none tumbled to the fact that her husband was a woman (one figured it out later). At first you might think: man, I thought my spouse was oblivious. But the more charitable view is that they were taken in by one of the great performances of all time." Read Full Article

20 years ago
June 3, 1988 | Caroline Knapp criticized the tourism industry.

“Notes Douglas Foy, director of the Conservation Law Foundation, ‘The reason tourists come here is because of Boston’s special character, the environmental quality of the area, all those Town Common, stone-wall, old-New-England-church issues. You would look to the tourism industry to become more active in fighting for clean air and a clean Harbor, for the protection of the drinking-water supply. Unfortunately, a lot of people are caught in the economic-development game. They’re not quite sure which side of the bread their butter is on.’

“Which is, at best, short-sighted.

As Foy puts it, 'Nobody is going to come here if it starts to look like New Jersey.' ”

25 years ago
June 7, 1983 | Karen Lee Ziner reported that the lesbian population in Northampton was under attack.

"...there’s trouble here. The trouble has to do with sexual politics. Some people think there are too many lesbians living in Northampton, and some of those people are doing just about everything short of murder to make them go away. Since last summer, two lesbians have reportedly been sexually attacked, a third assaulted. At least 30 women and several men, all targeted because they are homosexuals, report receiving harassing phone calls, arson threats, and death threats.

"Now the lines are drawn. 'I think,' says one observer, 'that the individuals who were making the threats were hoping that the gay community would go back in the closet, and the one thing we can be assured of is that this is not 1953, this is not 1965, and people are not going to go back into the closet. And people will organize and they will not stand for that sort of thing.' "

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